Petticoat Junction Season 1 Episode 1

The first episode of Petticoat Junction introduces us to Kate, who runs the Shady Rest Hotel between Hooterville and Pixley. Kate has 3 girls, Billie Jo, Bobbie Jo and Betty Jo. Billie Jo is the blonde who is interested only in boys. Bobbie Jo has dark hair and is a bookworm. Betty Jo is a redhead who loves the train that connects Hooterville to Pixley, the Hooterville Cannonball. They run the Hotel with Kate and their uncle Joe. The line that the Cannonball runs on hasn't been connected to the main line in years, so long in fact that the railroad company forgot that this spur exists. When an executive notices it on his map, he sends Homer Bedloe to investigate.

Homer arrives and meets Mr. Drucker at the Hooterville station. He is aghast that the train passes the station to stop at the general store so that Kate and her girls can do their shopping. When the train pulls out he has to run to catch it because it never goes back to the station. On the train, a group of travelling salesmen have surrounded Billie Jo. Kate goes to extract her daughter, but in doing so mentions the menu of fried chicken and apple pie they will be serving at the hotel. Homer discovers that Betty Jo is driving the train, and is making notes about the two railroad employees Floyd and Charlie. The train stops at an orchard so that everyone can pick apples for the pies that Kate is going to make for dinner.

The train stops for a layover at the hotel for everyone to eat. Thanks to uncle Joe, the hotel boasts a phone that isn't connected and an elevator that doesn't work, because he thinks they give the hotel class. Thoroughly frustrated, Homer fires Charlie and Floyd and announces he is killing the Cannonball. Joe says that will kill the hotel, but Homer doesn't care. He decides to take the train himself to Pixley, but he can't get it to run. After a few hours and injuries he gives up and decides to spend the night at the hotel and figure out the problem of the train in the morning. Kate tells the Cannonball they'll get through this and walks back to the hotel.

This episode has some gags, like Homer not letting Joe tell him about the phone and then getting frustrated because it doesn't work, but mostly it relies on the characters to get you involved. It sets up a sort of rural utopia where people aren't concerned with schedules or whether someone actually has the money to pay for the goods they are buying. Everyone is friendly and charming and only Billie Jo seems to want to leave, mainly because she wants to go where she can meet more boys. It's a tight knit community where everyone looks out for one another, and after dinner everyone sits together to play music. The jokes are funny, but almost incidental to what makes the show work. 


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